Despite the tough environment in which the sugar industry finds itself its focus remains on maintaining and building sustainable communities in which it operates through projects that include funding, training, support, administration and management in land reform, human resource development, education and training, skills development, social enterprise development, and health and welfare.
The South African sugar industry promotes diverse ownership of agricultural land under sugarcane, and recognises the need for support initiatives to promote the sustainable transfer of land.
The sugar industry’s ongoing commitment to land reform, its many initiatives and its partnering with government has contributed to the transfer of 22,3 % of freehold land under commercial sugar cane production from white growers to black growers.
There have been positive developments in land reform such as the settlement of outstanding restitution claims. The South African Sugar Association entered into an MoU with the Regional Land Claims Commission, confirming processes for the sustainable transfer of land.Land reform in the industry commenced in 1996 when Illovo Sugar and Tongaat Hulett Sugar initiated land transfers of their properties to black growers. This led to 18 789 hectares being transferred to 170 black growers. Today there are more than 74 600 hectares of freehold land that have been transferred. Currently, approximately 130 000 hectares are under claim.